I've been teaching a class this fall on clay sculpture, which I've been enjoying a lot. It's been a pleasure to see the class create. So I found myself thinking about the divine nature of Creativity.
Creativity, to me, is the Divine made visible. When we are Makers, the Divine expresses through each of us, whether we're making a mathematical theorem or a new recipe for lemon cake. How can anyone look at an orchid, shamelessly pretending, in the hope of being pollinated, that it is a beautiful bevy of magenta tipped butterflies in flight......without seeing the Goddess at Her easel? Without appreciating the gorgeous humor, and creative intelligence, behind all things visible?
When I was a kid in a long-ago Bible class, I had an "ah-ha" experience. I could not understand the "God" that was so often put before me as we plowed through the Book, a God of terrible vengence. Even now, I shudder to think of children internalizing some of these stories as divinely inspired. How about this, for example?
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying "Avenge the children of Israel"..............and Moses said unto them, "Have ye saved all the women alive?.......Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves." Num. XXXI, 1-18I remember reading this, and trying to fathom how the noble Moses, made so visible by Charleton Heston delivering the Commandments......could be involved in what was actually being described here. All those women, old ladies, babies and little boys hacked up with swords, the little girls carried off to be raped, sanctified by "God" and His prophet. How could I reconcile this horror?
Other options were needed, and like many others, it became a lifetime quest.
And how sad that a fragmented history of the bloody genocide practiced in ancient battles, fought beneath the banner of a tribal war god sometimes called Yahwah........should appear within the same book as "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you" (Luke 6:27). Or, and this passage, a favorite of mine, which is not from the Bible at all, but rather from the long hidden Nag Hammedi Gospels, attributed to the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas (the Twin)*** :
"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
There it is! The Divine Creative Force, expressing in everything and everyone. Early Christians called it "gnosis", knowledge of God within. Joseph Campbell called it your personal "bliss"......... it's the joy of creation and discovery, and if we bring it forth, it energizes and informs and expands our lives. If not, the energy contracts, turns self-destructive, dark, stagnant, an interior place ripe for infection physical and mental.
Be that as it may, I think it's so important to not "give your power away", which can mean appreciating, in fact thoroughly enjoying, the gifts - powers - that life has put on the banquet plate.
There's a wonderful passage in the ancient Sumarian stories of the goddess Inanna where she goes to visit Enki, the head of the Gods. In a celebratory mood, he calls forth some heavenly beer, and the two get drunk together. Enki gives Inanna many empowerments or gifts (called a "me") - from the art of sexual seduction to the governing of cities to the making of cheese. At a Witchcamp I attended this cycle was ritually enacted. As Enki offered each "me" (I always found that ancient word for gift or power interesting), Starhawk, in the role of Inanna, said loudly with conviction and gusto: "I'll take it!"
I think that's what you have to do, and it's not always easy. Take it. There are so many forces that discourage creativity and talent - one does not necessarily get love or acceptance for being "gifted", and so sometimes the quest is to hold true to those gifts and their potential for expression regardless. And seek the place and time and community that can allows that. I think of my own small dysfunctional family, and the kind of "dumbing down" I've always had to do in order to be tolerated by my envious brothers, who felt that success on my part somehow diminished them. This is the nature of the competitive, heirarchical paradigm that values "power over" instead of "power flowing". The "winner" vs. the "weavers".
I've seen this operate in groups as well, groups that do not know how to facilitate or address this unconscious collective shadow aspect (a friend who prefers to remain anonymous calls it the "mediocrity prerequisite"). I do not mean to sound harsh, but many people live in toxic spheres where they are being energetically rewarded for being stupid, uncreative, or a "victim", and punished for not being so. For not using their divine "Me"'s. And I guarantee that if you live that way long enough, you will demand the same currency from others.
I've been privileged to encounter many who are busy expressing the Divine Creative Force***** joyfully , in all kinds of ways, and sharing what they have. May we all, like Inanna, loudly proclaim: "I'll take it!"
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
-- David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press
**** Elaine H. Pagels further commented that:
"The Gospel of Thomas also suggests that Jesus is aware of, and criticizing the views of the Kingdom of God as a time or a place that appear in the other gospels. Here Jesus says, "If those who lead you say to you, 'look, the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds will get there first. If they say 'it's in the ocean,' then the fish will get there first. But the Kingdom of God is within you and outside of you. Once you come to know yourselves, you will become known."........Here it says, "It's inside you but it's also outside of you." It's like a state of consciousness. It's hard to describe. But the Kingdom of God here is something that you can enter when you attain gnosis, which means knowledge.....The secret of gnosis is that when you know yourself at that level you will also come to know God, because you will discover that the divine is within you."
Read more: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/thomas.html#ixzz1dtGPBd2t